Could A Long-Awaited Pop Music Reformation Be In Our Midst?

The tragic bombings during the Ariana Grande concert a few weeks ago was a pretty hard to miss story. Myriad celebrities sent their love and prayers via snapping, tweeting, and posting. Hundreds of newspapers worldwide kept articles about it at the top of the fold for days. In this day in age, it seems hard to miss what’s going on in our world, but one thing we might not be seeing is the change in the genre of music that has been a defining characteristic of American mainstream culture for decades, and what has been one of the signature trademarks of the vast influence America has over cultures worldwide: pop music.

Now, I wouldn’t call myself a pop-culture aficionado, though I do flip through People Magazine frequently enough to be able to tell you a brief synopsis of the Kardashian family dynamic, and maybe tell you who J Lo is dating at the moment. And admittedly I have spent many a car ride mouthing the lyrics or bopping my head along to catchy pop songs, all pretty mindlessly. After a while, the whole world of pop artists and pop music all started to mush together in my brain one big ball of the same song on repeat, over and over again. In the world of pop music over the past decade, news hasn’t ventured much beyond the occasional partially nude photo posted on Instagram that caused a stir, unfinished thoughts that often left listeners speculating on whether the artist had written about an ex, or an artist receiving scrutiny for being too suggestive with their choice of lyrics.

About a week after the tragedy, Grande returned to Manchester and threw a benefit concert, where the ticket sales, Uber fares, collections buckets, text-to-give appeals, and on-screen appeals for BBC viewers all went to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund. The concert included many performances by fellow radio giants such as Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Pharell Williams, Niall Horan, Mac Miller, Chris Martin, Coldplay, the Black Eyed Peas, and Little Mix. Though, none of these performances came close to matching Grande’s beautifully vulnerable rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” As I happened to catch a few of these on YouTube the next day, something became abundantly clear as I saw tears stream down each of their faces: these artists are human after all.

Their pain was palpable. You could see it in the tears brimming over Ariana’s eyes, the scream in Katy’s voice, the soul in the Black Eyed Peas’ song. Because it could have happened to any one of them. They say you never really understand someone else’s pain until you get a taste of it yourself, and I think that’s exactly what happened to the pop music industry. Sure, they’ve donated to large charities before, and made pledges to end worldwide hunger, but this was different. It affected one of their most prominent members, so in turn, it affected all of them.

By seeing their pain and hurt, something all humans experience, I saw them as one of us. Despite each of their seemingly easily-acquired success and wealth, they revealed during that concert a more bruised and battered side to the world we so often perceive as perfect. It was as if they had stripped the sheets off of a perfectly made bed. They were not just stars bound by their contracts and record deals, or promoters of various skincare products. They didn’t have filters to hide behind, or managers or choreographers or cameramen. They were just a group of real flesh-and-bones people brought together by tragedy, though prevailing through music.

It’s also said that tragedy brings out the best in people. So, was this just a one time thing, or will there be a permanent change in pop music? You’re asking the wrong person. I just thought I’d shed some light on the possibility of room for growth I saw.  Growth is scary, believe me. Sometimes the possibility of it is even scarier once we have found ourselves in a comfortable rut. But I’ve always been under the impression that that was what art was for: pushing the boundaries and setting the bar higher.

Truthfully, I have never been more optimistic to see what lies ahead for their industry. They have the chance to change a mammoth component of American mainstream society for the better, right in their hands. Pop has always played it relatively safe when it came to pushing the boundaries, and setting the bar higher. But do you want to know the dirty little secret behind art? It’s not art when you’re not scared. So, I guess I’d turn my initial question around a bit. My dearest pop music, what risks are you willing to take?

One Love Manchester

Reader of the Month: “The Phoenix Effect”

Hello everyone!

Long time no post. Luckily, I have a few upcoming projects up my sleeve for this summer which I am very excited to share with you… just not at this very moment😉. For now, though, I invite you to enjoy May’s Reader of the Month article, called The Phoenix Effect, a post gargantuanly surpassing the number of words I have been able to squeeze into maybe two or three blog posts, let alone one, and is the inaugural entry of the fiction/fantasy genre in the Reader of the Month Program. I could not be prouder to introduce my friend Melissa’s wonderfully written addition to the world of literature. The Phoenix Effect, I’m certain, is bound to capture the attention of many talent-seeking publishers and agents, talent being something Melissa isn’t short of in the slightest. Don’t forget to like this blog post and leave a comment below in support this month’s Reader of the Month! Sadly, the program’s termination date -rather, month- is fast approaching, but availability ranges from the months of August to December, regarding submission ability. All you have to do is leave your email in the comments section below, and I will shoot you an informational email as soon as I can with more details about your submission! Alright, alright. My blabbering shall cease for the time being so your enjoyment of The Phoenix Effect can commence, to put it wordily. See you next time! Continue reading

Reader of the Month: “Being Small”

     Oh, my favorite Petite Pineapple. Where to begin? I don’t think it merely comprehendable how long exactly I’ve been waiting to press that little blue ‘Publish’ button on the upper-right-hand-corner of my screen. The Petite Pineapple and I have been best-friends since the summer before kindergarten. I know I’ve told this story before, but it couldn’t be more true to the people we still are today. Basically, we were at a before kindergarten meet-and-greet, and we discovered that we were both wearing the same headband. It was chocolaty brown, embellished with pink and white daisies- a real hit for Target’s 2008 devoted flock of incoming kindergarten girls. After that, we were inseparable. At the end of our first play date, post Barbie playing, High School Musical binging and Goldfish devouring, I promptly ran up to our moms and declared that we were best friends. And, the rest is history. Many things amaze about The Petite Pineapple, but her natural confidence is hands down what inspires most. I invite you to read the article she has written for April’s Reader of the Month, and I can guarantee that you will finish feeling just as empowered as well as impressed at her determination, excellent writing ability, and perseverance, as I was. Petite Pineapple, I could not be more proud to call you my best friend!


The Legally Brunette Continue reading

Happy (belated) Birthday, Legally Brunette Blog!

My dearest Legally Brunette Blog,

Happy birthday. Or, should I say, happy belated birthday. You know I’m not great with that stuff. It’s been a little over a year now to the day that I worked up the nerve to meet you. You big beautiful ray that clobbered every thought standing in your way until I met you.

In this past year, you have gained 25 followers! Kudos. You have received over 1,000 views, and have published 34 blog posts (35 counting this one). But easily measurable and far from sky-rocketing stats aside, you have given much more than you have gained, and for that, I wanted to thank you. For giving me strong, supportive, and witty friendships I couldn’t have ever dreamed of (Shout out to Sunshine and Shortbread– one of the best writers and most appreciative friends of the wonders of an artsy picture I know!)

Thank you for allotting me perspective- that intelligence takes many forms, and that everyone falls victim to puppy-love every once in a while.

Thank you for allowing me to present a facade of being calm, cool, and collected, when in real life we all know that I get just as paranoid about poor grades as every other student, and that as much as I try, I will be never able to accomplish the hair tutorial blog posts I publish on myself in real life. Continue reading

Reader of the Month: “I am I and You are You”

Hello everyone!

I am well aware that my blogging game has not been on point recently, as I haven’t posted in forever! But I am back with March’s Reader of the Month, E.G., the author of this thought-provoking article on the variety of feelings human beings experience, and how they differ from person to person. A friend of mine, as well as a fellow hopeless romantic, she will give you a glimpse of one of her favorite feelings, that of getting ready for something, and provide critical after thought on how somebody else could react to that feeling differently than she would. I hope you enjoy this article as much as I do, and don’t forget to leave a comment below in response to this article!

~The Legally Brunette Continue reading

Hairstyle No. 4: “Flower Power”

Hello everyone,

It’s spring. Yeah, I know it’s not technically spring, but trust me, it’s spring. I trudged to school the other morning in a fluffy winter jacket expecting nothing less nor nothing more than wonted March 1st weather, yet when do my pleas to Mother Nature ever get answered? Ha ha, never. When I actually feel like going to Michael’s and finding snowstorm-puzzles or cute stencils to decorate my hot-cocoa mugs with, I am shunned!  Well, c’est la vie. But do not fret, for I have a springtime hairstyle up my sleeve!

Actually, I took this photo shoot a while ago, way back in October, I think. Ha! October. Just think back to October when the biggest worry on your mind was whether you could still pass for a trick-or-treater? Well this whole, er, “extravaganza” you could call it resulted in this photo shoots without failing to throw in a few curve balls along the way. You’d the backstory would go something along the lines of a peaceful picnic in the yard, mesmerized by the soft streaks of color traipsing across the skyline, all while being serenaded by the sweet coo of bird and jittery hiss of grasshopper. Well, quite the contrary! The wonderful model who is presenting the finale piece in the blog’s hairstyle program through pixelated rectangles, better known as the Petite Pineapple, has been one of my very closest friends for years. (We bonded over our shared pastime of munching on Goldfish and playing with Barbies in kindergarten, naturally.)

Since the dawn of time, (more like the beginning of 4th grade when we went through our inevitable Food Network phase) we have hosted our families for an annual dinner that we prepare. I have no shame in stating the fact that she is certainly the more adventurous one when creating, and more often than not, commenting on various dishes. Heck, she even contacted the lead chef from the cookbook she used when her eclairs didn’t work out to find out how to fix them! Yeah, I’m definitely more of a Betty Crocker kind of gal when it comes to baking, but  don’t get me wrong! Duncan Hines never falls short on my list either.

Well, the night of the photoshoot happened to also be the night of our dinner. I had had this hairstyle idea floating around my old can of thoughts for months, and thought the time perfect to settle in for a relaxing hair make-over after a long day of baking. I also won’t deny the fact of my natural control-freakishness when it comes to endeavors like these, especially when something was on my to-do list. What can I say? I have a blog to run and places to be! With much reluctance, and a bitter twinge in the air, most likely caused by a recent outburst of maniacal yelling, cheek-flushing, hair-pulling and head-banging, I cleared every last square-inch of hair tools I could find in order to get into my groove. My (most likely now) arthritic hands twisted every last knot, tightened every last braid, and stuffed every last floret until so many “Ow!”‘s and “Sorry!”‘a were exchanged, God received an overload of prayers regarding that this hairstyle be over with at some point. 

Once the look passed the multiple strenuous test of “photo shoot readiness” and received it’s well-deserved seal of approval, we encountered yet another battle. This time, it was with none other than a rabid skunk. 

That’s right! A rabid skunk. Just casually meandering though the street in broad daylight, without a care in the world. I tried to ignore it, as it seemed to prefer territory on the other side of the street. The Petite Pineapple on the other hand was much more concerned. Just to give you some perspective, in between all of these shots, we were turning our heads every five seconds to see if the skunk had drawn any closer to our sacred territory of Girl World! Fortunately, the skunk stayed on its side of the street for the time being, until my mom and I woke up to a sweet little surprise sprawled among the dead vines and seedlings of our backyard gardens: the skunk. The completely rabid and now completely dead skunk. 

Other than the lingering odor it emitted and dusted throughout our neighborhood, I didn’t have anything directly against the poor little skunk. All I have to say is, thank goodness for animal control! Godspeed! Well, I mean, I guess I’ll give a little tutorial on this, if I have to. It’s only the final one, right? All right, all right, we shall officially commence the instruction of the tutorial! Continue reading

Brunette’s Book Club: Silver People (Not Exclusive To Brunettes!)

        This was one of those random books at the library you find every once in a good while. They’re rare, but spectacular. The story, Silver People, by Margarita Engle, followed an intriguing ensemble cast of characters as they shared their own stories of living life, either working, watching, or leading the construction of the Panama Canal in 1906. 

        The story starts out from the point of view of Mateo, the main character in the story. He’s going through all of the reasons of why he needs this job of working on the Panama Canal. His abusive father. His helpless mother desperate for financial relief. The desideratum for a new life. Every few pages, the perspective changes: Anita, the forest whisperer who sells herbal medicines to whoever will take them, that is, whoever notices her. She is discouraged that her sacred forest is being overrun by Americans. Henry,  a former cock-fighter, is livid due to the utterly inadequate conditions Cubans are placed under versus those Americans are (similar to the highly debated issue of equal pay for equal work, no?). And finally, Augusto, an artist Mateo discovers, who decides to paint the beauty of the forest that surrounded him, while it’s still there. Despite the beauty of each character’s disposition, it’s the character of The Forest that stood out for me. It gave me insight to a common problem we face today in the world; climate change. Humans may reach for the stars, developing, researching, creating, but no iPhone bazillion or Samsung Galaxy S Note Edge whatever will trump the ultimate force of Mother Nature. When you take out the chaos and social expectations and Instagram feeds and Snapchat filters and viral videos and screens and binges and clothing and competition, all you have left is your bare hands and feet, and our Earth. And that makes me smile.

        The story of these characters’ journeys; their work being undermined because of their skin color, their pay being docked because of their country of origin, and their integrity being sacrificed in order to provide for their families. Doesn’t this strike an eerily similar chord with you? The hatred these workers face is the same immigrants, Muslims, and African Americans still face to this very day. There’s no denying the fact, progress has been made since the construction of the Panama Canal, as my 4th grade teacher once said, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes progress. If we practice the core ideals of our nation, by fostering acceptance of all, then without a doubt, progress will be made. 

        There is still work that needs to be done. Some days, it feels that every step we take forward, we walk a mile backwards. Now, isn’t this blog post timely? President Trump’s recent travel ban is the epitome of walking a mile backwards. If not, 5, 10, or 20 miles backwards. But a little lesson I learned from Lorelei Gilmore, is that, one little pothole in your life will not ruin your entire journey. One thing I am certain of, is that the journey of the American Spirit has taken more harsh beatings than any other. Yet, another thing I am certain of, is that, no bump, batter, bruise, or president will ever defeat the American Spirit. Right now, we’re just feeling the blow. I have the utmost confidence in the United States, now and always. Not the administration that runs it, but the United States as a whole. We the people have more control over how our country runs that the people who have been elected to run our country. If we work together, sign petitions, join marches, make phone calls, read the (completely legitimate!) news, and run for office,  then we really do have a chance to be the change we want to see in the world.

       This book took my breath away, each stanza being better than the last. Margarita Engle perfectly encapsulated the trauma, pain, and sorrow of the construction of the Panama Canal, while instilling a firm message to readers of today about the progress still needing to be made about immigration and racism. Poetically charming, the book was, and with the fewest of words, Engle left the greatest of messages. You’re never the same person after you’ve been through a life-changing experience, and Engle gave her readers the opportunity of gaining perspective through this beautiful piece of literature. If couldn’t tell already, I strongly recommend this read! Let me know if you’re planning to read this, or if you already have, and if you have any book recommendations of your own for me! Tune in next time for the final bow of the hair-tutorials sweep through the Legally Brunette Blog. Continue reading

Reader of the Month: “Mind Games”

Welcome back, everyone, to Reader of the Month! This month, I have convinced one of my very best friends, going under the alias, Buddy, to join the Legally Brunette family by making her debut as February’s Reader of the Month. In her captivating opinion piece entitled, “Mind Games,” she discusses her experience with having an anxiety disorder,  commonly found among teenagers, and delves into the misconceptions, day-to-day  struggles of feeling “policed” by your own mind, and steps she took to regain control of the fear that had overwhelmed . I am beyond impressed with Buddy’s open mindedness and pure honesty that I know will inspire not only those suffering from anxiety, but anyone who is in need of hearing wisdom from someone who has survived tough times. Leave a comment below showing support for this blog, and for Buddy, as well as all former and prospective ROMs, whose willingness to share their experiences, opinions, and creativity has immensely shaped my outlook on the world, and this blog’s mission as a whole. Introducing Buddy, with the piece, “Mind Games.”

~The Legally Brunette


“Mind Games”

By Buddy

                     If there’s one phrase that I hate, it’s “It’ll get better.” The truth is, that things tend to not get better, but more so get more tolerable. Whatever your challenge to overcome is will always be a part of you no matter what, which is sad, but a true statement. For example, I have an anxiety disorder. I worry about events in the future going wrong in such elaborate ways that it keeps me from truly expressing myself and living my life to the fullest. I’m afraid to go up to the front of the classroom to sharpen my pencil because I’m afraid I’ll trip and make a fool of myself. I’m afraid to talk to people if I don’t really know them in fear that just saying “hi” will sound stupid. In fact, my anxiety has only gotten worse throughout the years. As a young kid I just thought I was shy, but when I started to get nervous and anxious talking on the phone with my grandparents, I knew I needed help. Now I go to therapy, and while my anxiety is still there and will always be there, it has become more manageable.

                     A lot of times people wonder what anxiety really feels like, because they just figure “Well everybody has anxiety, get over it.” But the fact is, that those people will probably get anxiety about a project or homework or maybe public speaking at times, whereas with anxiety, you could say “Good morning” to someone and spend the rest of the day analyzing all the wrong ways it could have sounded or been perceived. Anxiety is like having a police officer constantly follow you around saying “You can’t do that.” It’s like becoming a scared little girl again for the smallest things. So while therapy can’t cure my anxiety per se, it has taught me a lot of ways to tone it down and get through my daily life without worrying about things such as whether that stranger that walked past me thought I looked weird.

                    Two of the biggest things that I have learned in therapy have been that 1) Everybody is focusing on themselves and their lives, and are not very worried about how you said something to them that may have sounded weird to you, and 2) There’s a difference between awkward and quiet. What I mean by there’s a difference between awkward and quiet is that, yes, I’m a generally soft spoken person with a quiet nature. However, I still laugh and have fun with friends and family, so just because media portrays the quiet kids in school as being awkward, does not make it true. I always thought I was super weird for being quiet, since from a young age I would see all the kids around me talking to each other and talking out in class and I would wonder “Is it weird that I don’t talk as much as them?” And then when awkward was added to my vocabulary, I figured that was what I was, when in reality, quiet isn’t weird or awkward.

                    Although I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that you’re never going to be perfect, you will have some slip ups, but will they always happen? No. Should you restrict yourself from doing things because you’re afraid you’ll slip up? NO. Not at all. Trust yourself, and your body will trust you back.

About the Author: Buddy is one of the Legally Brunette’s very best friends, and they never have a normal day as long as they’re together.

Mental health is a very serious topic, one that should never be taken lightly. If you believe you or someone you know has a mental illness similar to anxiety or depression, visit some of these websites to learn more information and receive care: (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) (Worry Wise Kids) ( ( (Teen Mental Health)


It’s De-Lovely.

Hey everyone!

After a brief blogging hiatus, I am officially back. After making so many plans for my blog, I guess I kind of forgot to actually post on my blog. Over the weekend, I took a much- needed detox. From plans, homework, and responsibility, so I went to Maine.                  Yup. That’s the whole story. If you feel overwhelmed, I will always vouch for a warm bath and rummaging through Pinterest for inspirational quotes and whatnot, but in my family, our most commonly used “inspirational quote” goes along the lines of “Give up and just go to Maine already.” 

So yeah. Official Weekend Status Report: Check! A few members of my family -myself included- have also made it a tradition to embark on an annual trek to the ole Vacation Land right around Valentines Day. Well, I don’t know if it is coincidence or not, but very recently, Beyonce announced that she was having twins!! The initial reaction my cousin (the same one who relentlessly pressed me for the status of my purchase of her most recent album, Lemonade, until I finally bought it) and I went through was pure giddiness. Any time Beyonce posts a picture with caption, it’s declared an official holiday. But let’s be real here- any time Beyonce posts a picture, it’s always declared a holiday in our minds!

To commemorate the joyous occasion, we decided to combine our annual Single-Pringle Valentine’s Day dinner with a not your average Beyonce baby shower. We crafted (Including making a string of cut-out bees saying cute Valentine’s/bee puns. Our cheesiness ranged from “I think I’m POLLEN for ya!” all the way to “You make me feel aHIVE.”), binged (I had to be there with my cousin as his experience with The Office came to a close. Speaking as someone who has watched the series roughly four times in a row     -36 seasons in total- I am well aware of the challenge in itself to cope with the mere thought of life after The Office. But luckily I did encourage him to pick Parks and Recreation, so all was well.), snacked (A few months ago, as I was waiting in line at a local T.J. Maxx, I discovered  possibly the best impulse buy I would ever make: heart shaped pasta. I know, I know, but I just had one of those moments! A Pinterest epiphany, some might call it.) played (There was snow. There was sledding. There was snow-mobiling. There was hot-tubbing. There was “Holy schnitzel it’s wicked ch-ch-ch-chilly out here”-ing. Oh yes, and there was ski-biking.), and sang (Hamilyonce: the two best things to have possibly graced the earth. This really needs to become a power couple name or something…). So yeah, it was a pretty awesome weekend, and a good gettaway from all of the hub bub life throws at you. To  read more opinion on travel, check out this blog post!

Well, when all is said and when all is done, I do believe Beyonce said it best: “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it.” Am I right, single ladies? Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same without us.  Continue reading

Dear Hillary Clinton

(Letter originally written on January 16, 2016)

Dear Mrs. Clinton,

        My name is (real name), and I’m (real age) years old. I’m not exactly sure how to begin, or if I even want to. I know that once I begin, it’s not only begins this letter, but the beginning of letting go.

        On behalf of girls everywhere, I believe there simply aren’t enough words to express how grateful we are for you. Not just that you were an outspoken first lady who wasn’t afraid to articulate your thoughts on how the country should be run. Not just that you were an impassioned senator who served as a backbone for an entire state during one of the world’s most gruesome terrorist attacks on the United States.  Not just that you were the first female presidential nominee. But that you gave girls like me, hope.

        Mrs. Clinton, facts and polls and websites and tallies may claim that you were “defeated,” but in my opinion, you have won. You have won for the LGBT community. You have won for African Americans. You have won for immigrants. You have won for millennials. You have won for women. And most importantly, you have won for the United States of America. Just look at how many supporters you gained throughout your campaign. If facts and polls and websites and tallies think that 65,844,954 votes is considered “defeat,” then they may have to look at a dictionary. Being defeated is when you have given up hope. Let me tell you, my, along with 65,844,954 people’s hope is far from given up.  It is stronger than ever now, because we have realized, thanks to you, that we are stronger together.

        I have noticed a change in how boys at my school treat girls. Thank you. I have noticed a change in how girls treat their education. Thank you. I have noticed a change in how people interact among races, religions, and sexualities. Thank you. Thank you for taking that one small step for (wo)man, so the rest of us could take giant leaps for (wo)mankind.

        Over the summer, I was a part of the Edward M. Kennedy Senate Camp, where students learned how the senate works, and we took on roles of different senators. I was given Patrick Leahy. We learned about different speech mechanisms, (…) and how to incorporate them into our very own speeches to create a persuasive argument. Our goal was to create a comprehensive immigration bill, once and for all. After much debate, I proposed a new bill. It allowed Republicans to get their way on border security, and Democrats theirs on allowing immigrants already residing in the U.S. to embark on a path to citizenship without having to worry whether their families would be torn apart. A vote was taken in the subcommittee that day, the vote resulting in an overwhelming amount of support from senators of all parties. The bill passed that day. It coincidentally passed on the same day that I realized what I wanted to make of my future. I wanted to do this for a living. I wanted to make change, for the better.

        I am writing this letter to you today, with more hope for the United States than ever before. People you have inspired, myself included, will stop at nothing to passionately continue the fight for peace and unity among our people. Your influence has without a doubt reestablished our country’s core values, and ensured the limitless futures of every single person. I feel honored to have supported you throughout your candidacy, and still support you today. Remember how I said, that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to begin writing this letter, because it would signify the beginning of letting go? What I am letting go of is anger, and disgust and fear. Those feelings felt safe to me, because everyone else was feeling them. One of the most important lessons I learned from you, is that a true leader shouldn’t waste time on dwelling and regret. I believe you said once, that, “Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward.”

        As a girl just figuring out the world for the very first time, here is my vision so far: America is simple, yet incredibly complicated. We are grooming a future generation of believers, and go getters. Quick-thinkers and even quicker typers. We don’t rush to judgement, or our senate to decisions. We absorb knowledge, and thrive off of growth. We see different points of view, and will most definitely revive the lost art of compromise. We are not perfect, but strive to create a more perfect union. Together. Together we are stronger, and stronger we are together. I am changing my feelings of anger, disgust, and fear, into those of wisdom, empowerment, and love. I will follow through on my dream of making change for the better by speaking up about global issues, advocating for peace, and encouraging my generation to lead lives of eternal kindness, and forward thinking. Thank you for changing my life. Thank you for changing my vision, and thank you for changing the world.


(real name)

~The Legally Brunette Continue reading